From a profile on the New Yorker that I only just now had the ill-fated idea of reading:

Andreessen is tomorrow’s advance man, routinely laying out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” as if he were glancing at his Google calendar. He views his acuity as a matter of careful observation and extrapolation, and often invokes William Gibson’s observation “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Jet packs have been around for half a century, but you still can’t buy them at Target. To smooth out such lumps in distribution, Andreessen disseminates his views via every available podcast and panel discussion and CNN interview slot: he’s a media soothsayer, Andreessen the Magnificent. He also tweets a hundred and ten times a day, inundating his three hundred and ten thousand followers with aphorisms and statistics and tweetstorm jeremiads. Andreessen says that he loves Twitter because “reporters are obsessed with it. It’s like a tube and I have loudspeakers installed in every reporting cubicle around the world.”

That is exactly why I do not enjoy social media at all anymore. Turn the amplification off. Enough with the loudspeakers. Enough with the Marc Andreessen kind of takes.

It’s fascinating how a single guy can embody everything that is wrong with startups and their funding system:

Such tests help a16z determine whether the founder is a mercenary who wants to sell the company within four years, which will cap a16z’s return at 5x, or a missionary, determined to change the world. “At the same time,” Andreessen said, “we’re not funding Mother Teresa. We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big.”

What an adorable human. Thanks for making the world a better place, Marc.

Da Hacker News:

  1. Pick an industry
  2. Ask someone in that industry what they use spreadsheets for
  3. Build something better

Mi ricorda un’analisi di Ben Evans. Sosteneva che la minaccia principale all’esistenza di Office — in particolare PowerPoint e Excel: due software utilizzati per i compiti più disparati; c’è chi usa PowerPoint per mockup e chi usa Excel per gestire i turni di un ristorante — non sia un Office migliore ma singole applicazioni che svolgano ciascuna i vari e molteplici compiti che negli anni aziende e persone hanno affidato (impropriamente) a PowerPoint e Excel. “PowerPoint gets killed by things that aren’t presentations at all”, scriveva Evans.

Excel, nato per analizzare dati numerici, nato come foglio di calcolo, è col tempo diventato uno strumento flessibile per gestire un qualsiasi database, numerico e non. Non c’è bisogno di un Excel migliore perché la maggior parte degli utenti di Excel non ha bisogno di Excel; usa Excel perché è uno strumento adattabile, che permette di organizzare facilmente una mole di dati.

Joel Spolsky, uno dei fondatori di Trello:

Most people just used Excel to make lists. Suddenly we understood why Lotus Improv, which was this fancy futuristic spreadsheet that was going to make Excel obsolete, had failed completely: because it was great at calculations, but terrible at creating tables, and everyone was using Excel for tables, not calculations.

Om Malik:

In the course of nearly two decades of closely following (and writing about) Silicon Valley, I have seen products and markets go through three distinct phases. The first is when there is a new idea, product, service, or technology dreamed up by a clever person or group of people. For a brief while, that idea becomes popular, which leads to the emergence of dozens of imitators, funded in part by the venture community. Most of these companies die. When the dust settles, there are one or two or three players left standing. Rarely do you end up with true competition.

Come Google e Facebook, Uber e altre startup solo in parte tecnologiche (food delivery) stanno sfruttando l’effetto di rete, e algoritmi e dati raccolti (più persone usano un servizio -> più altre sono spinte ad usarlo -> più il servizio è in grado di migliorarsi e distaccarsi dalla competizione viste la molte di dati collezionati), per rafforzare la loro posizione dominante sul mercato — creando dei monopoli in settori che prima non ne avevano.

L’ultimo numero di Forbes contiene un profilo dettagliato di David Karp, il ragazzo dietro Tumblr. Fra gli argomenti trattati come, direi finalmente, riuscire a rendere economicamente sostenibile il sito (non guadagna a sufficienza, non al momento):

The company finished 2012 with $13 million in revenue; the hope in this “leap” year is that it’ll get to $100 million. […] Tumblr spent an estimated $25 million on its operation last year and will likely have to shell out up to $40 million this year. In 2013 David Karp has a race on his hands: Can he break into the black before needing to hold his hand out again for investors?